By Lea Michelle Cash –
Hollywood — I was raised in Brighton, Massachusetts, a small predominantly White suburban neighborhood located in the northwest corner of Boston, which did not have much shenanigans for tinsel, glitter or glam, because it is centered on culture, proper English and academics. Therefore, at a young age, I started reading entertainment magazines to get my dose of Hollywood excitement and all its royal glory. My father painted my bedroom walls with fluorescent sparkles that illuminated and shined. In my bedroom, I dreamed of becoming an entertainment reporter, and one day meeting a man named Oscar, who lived in Hollywood—this magical place nearly three thousand miles away from me.
On February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Blvd, my childhood dream came true. I arrived on the 84th Academy Awards Red Carpet at 10:30 AM. Hundreds of people were already seated in the viewing bleachers that lined the Red Carpet. On the carpet were hundreds of media professionals, outlets from every corner of the globe. Many in their native dress, most could not speak English, but all collectively understood these two words—Hollywood and Oscar. I was elated and over the moon finding it hard to breathe at times—these are my people—media folks. All shapes, sizes, and colors, I was living my dream.
Morgan Freeman opened the celebration of magic in movies. The stage setting was breathtaking. It was decorated as a historic movie palace and costumed hostesses handed out popcorn and candy to the audience. Freeman introduced the host, an actor, writer, producer, film director, and comedian Billy Crystal. This is his ninth Academy Awards as Oscar host. Crystal does his spoofs on the five movies nominated for Best Movie. The Academy Awards with America’s most loved Hollywood stars moves at a quick pace and the controversy and speculation of who will win begins to intensify and unfold.
The big winners for the star-studded night were “The Artist” and “Hugo” that each swept up five golden Oscar trophies. Natalie Portman presented the male actors in a leading role. She commented about each individual character and what made their performances very different. Jean Dujardin took the Oscar for his leading role in the film “The Artist”. He is overjoyed as the first Frenchman to win best actor. The nostalgia creative brilliance of “The Artist” won best picture, best director, best costume and best score. Visionary filmmaker, Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” won awards for art direction, visual effects and cinematography.
Colin Firth on stage presents the best actress in a leading role. On stage and backstage there is silence. Beating out Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) and Viola Davis (The Help), Meryl Streep wins the Oscar for her leading role in the movie “The Iron Lady.” This is Streep’s third Oscar win. I dropped some tears for Viola Davis. Soon wiped them away greeting Streep, who was gracious, absolutely radiant, and very happy to have received the prestigious award.
During his acceptance speech, T. J. Martin one of “Undefeated’s” directors used inappropriate language. Backstage, completely overjoyed at winning an Oscar, he apologized. “First and foremost I want to apologize for that," Martin told the press. "I don't think that was the classiest thing in the world, however, with that said it did come from the heart. It was absolutely spontaneous and there's no way in the world I thought this would happen. This is the most insane thing that's ever happened." The movie, “Undefeated” won best documentary feature. Sean P. Diddy Combs was an executive director on this film.
The night belonged to an emotional Octavia Spencer, who received an Academy Award for her role as best supporting actress in the movie “The Help”. She wept and was the first to receive a heartfelt standing ovation, before her feet landed on the beautiful stage.
Backstage in the interview room, where I was given the opportunity to meet all the winners, I asked her a question about her experience and what she would like to say to any young women who desired to be like her one day. She replied, “This is the one of those evenings in my life that I’ll never forget. I hope it is the hallmark of more for young aspiring actresses of color, and by color, I don’t just mean African Americans. I mean Indian, Native Americans, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans. I hope that in some way that I can be some sort of beacon of hope, especially because I am not the typical Hollywood beauty.”
Other Awards included Best supporting actor—Christopher Plummer, Best song—Man or Muppet, Best animated—“Rango”, Best adapted screenplay—“The Descendants” and best original screenplay—Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris.”
Now, I must dream a bigger dream as Oprah Winfrey often says. It was a night of dreams come true for many, and a time to celebrate. The 84th Academy Awards was definitely an amazing night to remember—when media folks from around the globe, happily united for movie magic and a man named Oscar, who lived in Hollywood over three thousand miles from me.
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